Saturday, January 01, 2005

FM Developer gets recognised as landmark

Edwin Howard Armstrong

The Columbia University lab where Edwin H. Armstrong developed FM radio technology in the 1930's has finally been given National Historic Landmark status. Armstrong's technology, which gave radio a better fidelity signal than the AM (mediumwave) band, had its public debut in the US as far back as 1939, though FM wouldn't become widely popular for another half century.

An electronics genius, Armstrong conducted much of his radio research for military purposes - specifically, to enhance U.S. military communications in World Wars I and II. He had a frustrating time, however, with trying to get FM off the ground. He fought for much of his life to keep the rights to his invention and finally committed suicide in 1954 when it seemed he had lost them. His wife kept battling and eventually prevailed in court.

Do click on the link in the title and explore the website dedicated to Armstrong...amazing and once again perfect proof that you don't have to worry about someone pinching original have to ram it down people's throats to get it accepted.


Anonymous said...

Jonathan, Armstrong committed suicide in 1954, not 1951. I remember it well, because he was one of my heroes as a boy. (I was 11 when he died.) I actually cut his obit from the Washington, D.C., Evening Star and kept it in a scrapbook for many years.

It's about time people realised what this great engineer did. He was the first to put Lee DeForest's Audion (triode) tube to practical use. During WWI he developed the superheterodyne principle, which allowed most of a receiver's gain to be concentrated in a narrow, easily controlled internediate frequency amplifier. Then, during the 1920s and '30s, he developed wide-band FM, something David Sarnoff would never forgive.

Edwin Howard Armstrong was one of the giants of the Twentieth Century and he should be showered with praise.

73, Elton Byington, NYC

Jonathan Marks said...

Thanks for the comment and correction Elton